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An Alphabet of Animals gathers together in words and photographs some of the many ways in which people have looked at animals and have thought about them. From different ages, both past and present, and from many different parts of the world, this book records in words and photographs how people have responded to the animals around them.
Animals have been exploited and abused, but they have also been admired so much that a monkey has been seen as the manifestation of God on earth, and an ox has led the way to Enlightenment.
From Ants to Zoos, the Alphabet takes us into the worlds of animals and helps us to see and to understand them in a new way. Many poems and translations are quoted here, but some have been written or made specially for this book.
Table of Contents:
Table Of Contents: Introduction A Ant B Bestiaries C Cat D Donkey E Eagle F Francis G Go H Hoopoe I Ijapa J Jaguar K Kraken L Lamb M Monkey N Nephila Spider O Ox P Phoenix Q Quails R Ram S Sloth T Tiger U Unicorn V Vishnu W Whale X Xolotl Y Yeti Z Zoos
In September, 1926, Henry Beston Sheahan spent a two-week holiday at Nauset on Cape Cod. At the end of the fortnight, he found that he could not leave: “The beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go.” He stayed on for a further year, and then wrote (under the name Henry Beston) a short account of his experience, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod. From that book comes a famous and often quoted passage: “Touch the earth, love the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. For the gifts of life are the earth’s and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and the dawn seen over the ocean from the beach. When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity. We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilisation surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronise them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” It is the purpose of this book to listen to the ways in which people in different ages and in different parts of the world have been visitors to those other kingdoms and have learnt so much from them. From the earliest days of cave art, humans have held out the hand of their imagination to animals, not just in art, but in poetry and prose as well. This Alphabet of Animals gathers together, in poetry, prose and photography, some of the consequences and the lessons learned—particularly in different religions around the world. A few of the poems are familiar, others less so; some have been either written or translated for this book. The Alphabet began as a series of short programmes on the BBC World Service, but the book, although it follows the same alphabetical sequence, has been completely re-written and extended for this edition. Almost all the photographs were taken, in different parts of the world, by Bryan Knox, a great photographer of the natural world. Some of the others, particularly those of stained-glass windows, were taken by Sonia Halliday. We first worked together to produce The Aerial Atlas of the Holy Land (London, Mitchell Beazley, 2008): it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them again. My thanks go also to those at The Key Publishing who brought this book into being. Details of the books mentioned or from which quotations have been taken will be found in the bibliography.
|Title:||An Alphabet of Animals||Publisher:||The Key Publishing House Inc.|
|Author:||John Bowker, Bryan Knox, Sonia Halliday|
|Edition:||Ebook First , PDF|
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